Thursday, August 11, 2022

Pictures from July

 July was a beautiful and busy month. I always enjoy July, as I feel that it is filled with summer's best. Trips to the lake, picking berries, stunning sunsets, garden produce, family picnics, beautiful flowers, well as you can see I could go on forever!

We were very blessed with an abundance of berries in our garden this year. I was able to make jam from our home grown strawberries, black raspberries and rhubarb, so far. I still plan to make red raspberry jam from our garden at some point. I also had enough berries to freeze for the winter months ahead.

There is nothing quite like a pie made with fresh berries from the garden! It gives us such a good feeling to see the hard work of planting and caring for our plants come to fruition.

Although we have planted blueberries they are very slow to grow. The picture of the plant above was taken at a beautiful blueberry farm we visit each summer. Our annual trip is one of my favorite summer traditions! This year I went with my mom and sister, with her children. It was fun to see the cousins enjoy their time together and competing to see who could pick the most blueberries!
One evening Jemimah brought in a basket of bell peppers she picked. She likes to pick flowers from her wild flower garden and then arrange them among the vegetables. She finds great delight in surprising me with beautiful bouquets and displays of her flowers.
I am grateful to have a nice supply of peppers in my freezer for the winter ahead.

We are thrilled to finally have some ripe tomatoes. They seemed to be a little slow to ripen this year. We have a few different heirloom varieties, which is a real treat. Above is another example of Jemimah's creative expression in vegetable/flower arranging. : )

The geese have grown so fast! They are such characters and seem to find ways to amuse us nearly every day. Axel is a little aggressive with people he doesn't know and becomes very vocal at his annoyance when unknown guests arrive, like the gas delivery man yesterday! He also finds great delight in chasing our poor little dog Darla Mae and chasing Jemimah while she rides her bike. He has gone so far as to bite her bike tire. I'm glad to be on his good side, so far!

Jemimah spent time this summer working on her embroidery and learning how to sew on the sewing machine. After completing a couple of hand sewn projects she was ready to try her hand at using a sewing machine. She sewed a patchwork quilt for her dolls and did a great job! I was so proud of her hard work, and blessed when she won best of fair at our county fair for her quilt.

Over the summer I hand embroidered a little runner/dresser scarf. I found the stamped embroidery kit at a little quilt shop in our area; they were selling a number of vintage stamped embroidery projects for 50cents- $1. I purchased several, some appear to be from the 1950's. 

I also added a couple of new (to me) vintage apron patterns to my collection. I am hoping to find time to sew them over the next few months, and maybe add them to my shop. I really like to button back closure of each design.

I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful summer! 

"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" Romans 11:33

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Pasta Salad Recipe

Today I would like to share with you my favorite recipe for pasta salad. Earlier this month I made pasta salad for a Fourth of July picnic at my mom's house.

Pasta Salad:
1 box (12 Oz.)  tri-colored rotini pasta
1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1/4-1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup pepperoni, cut into pieces
1 can (6 oz.) black olives, sliced

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 TBSP. water
1 TBSP. honey
3 TBSP. Parmesan cheese
1/4-1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
black pepper to taste
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until al dente, rinse under cold water and drain.
 Whisk together ingredients to create the dressing.
In  large bowl combine pasta, cheese, bell pepper, carrot, onion, pepperoni, olives and salad dressing. Refrigerate overnight. 
This salad is a summer favorite in my home! It is very versatile and can be adjusted to suit your family's preferences. 

I also made a cake for the picnic. It was a simple boxed cake, but I thought it may be worth sharing despite the fact in was not entirely made from scratch.

 Cherries in the Snow Cake:
1 box white cake mix (*ingredients needed to bake cake)
1 box instant pudding
2 cups cold milk 
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 can cherry pie filling


Prepare and bake cake according to directions. 
When cake is finished baking and still warm poke cake with the end of a wooden spoon handle. In bowl combine pudding mix with milk. Stir until smooth and let sit 2 minutes. Pour pudding into holes of warm cake. Place in fridge a couple of hours to cool.  Prior to removing cake from fridge, beat heavy cream with powdered sugar and vanilla, until stiff peaks form and it has become whipped cream. When cool, top cake with whipped cream and cherries.
*When the boxed cake mix called for oil I used melted butter, and it place of water I used whole milk.

Since it was July 4th, I decided to try and form the cherries and some blueberries into an American flag. My attempt was a little crude, but everyone seemed to like my less than perfect flag cake.

It was a lovely Fourth of July picnic! We were very blessed with a warm, sunny day. We enjoyed good food, patriotic music, fireworks, and best of all, being with family.

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." Psalm 33:12a


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Feathered and Furry Friends

Happy Summer! I hope you all have enjoyed a beautiful spring.

This spring we were blessed to add to our flock and I thought I would take some time to share pictures of our feathered and furry friends.

For some time now Adam has been interested in purchasing some geese. He had read articles about the benefits of geese, and that they prove to be a good alarm/guard against predators. After losing all but two of our hens over the past year he had been looking into options on how to better protect our hens. Some recommend geese as they will alert their owners of harm and even scare away predators.

 It wasn't too hard for Adam to convince me that we needed geese. Especially when I met the sweet little gosling above! Adam had ordered two Embden geese, unfortunately when the shipment arrived at the store, one of the goslings had not survived the trip. The store we purchased from had a mix of other goslings to choose from and this little dear caught my eye, she is a White Chinese.

 In just over a month the geese have grown so much! Both geese are loving and enjoy being held. In the evenings Adam and I will sit in our lawn chairs with a goose on each of our laps.

 Adam has named his Embden goose Axel, after the character in Journey to the Center of the Earth. Axel is an impressive goose already, he is twice the size of my goose. I love the picture above, as it looks like he has a crazy tuft of blonde hair! Both geese have lost most of their baby fuzziness and are growing beautiful white feathers.

As I mentioned earlier we lost all but two of our hens to a hawk and possum. We decided to add ten new chickens to our flock. The business we purchased chicks from has an incredible variety to choose from. My daughter and I had a difficult time limiting our selection to only ten birds! Each of the ten chickens is a different variety, many of which we never raised in the past. Some will even lay blue or green eggs.
The chicks are harder to photograph than the geese as they are constantly moving about. They love to flap their wings and "fly" about their pen. We love to watch their adorable antics!
Our two remaining hens have been enjoying the company of a distinguished gentlemen. Our neighbor's rooster comes over every morning to join our ladies on a stroll about the lawn; come evening he escorts the hens to the hen house and returns home. It is truly comical to watch him walk the hens home, cut across the lawn and then pass under the fence to his own yard. We have dubbed him Sir Reginald Rooster, but call him Reggie for short. Reggie is the most conversational chicken I have ever met, he is always clucking away over every inch of lawn and will even crow in Adam's garage to request an ear of dried corn.
We also purchased two turkey chicks this spring. Much to Jemimah's dismay Adam plans to have the turkey butchered come fall. Adam hopes to have a truly home grown Thanksgiving this year.

Since it has been awhile since I last posted you have not yet had the chance to meet our puppy, Darla Mae. She joined our family last summer and has been an absolute delight! Darla Mae is truly the sweetest little dog I've ever met. In the picture above she is wearing a sweater I crocheted.

Since I can't resist cute puppy pictures I had to include a picture of Darla Mae from last summer soon after we brought her home.
Adam has also begun beekeeping. We're all hoping to eventually enjoy a wonderful yield of honey, but in the meantime we are finding pleasure in watching the bees collect pollen from our various flowers. It is beautiful to see the bees return to their hive with their back legs coated in yellow pollen. Bees are such amazing creatures. How good the Lord is to bless us with His incredible creations.

 We were somewhat surprised by a recent visitor to our garden. One evening Adam spotted this enormous snapping turtle in our  vegetable garden. We stood by and watched as the turtle began to burrow down into the tilled soil. We all kept our distance, since snapping turtles can be quite dangerous, but enjoyed an up close observation of a large snapper at work.

I hope you have enjoyed this little update about our animal friends. Hope to chat with you all again soon!

"O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches." Psalm 104:24

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Springtime Beauty

May has been a beautiful month where I live. My family and I have been enjoying the return of each springtime flower and feathered friends. It is always such an amazing blessing to see spring unfold after a long cold winter.

 My daughter and I find great delight in awaiting the arrival of our favorite flowers. I cherish all of the sweet little bouquets my daughter collects for our kitchen table.

 Star of Bethlehem is one of if not my favorite springtime flower. It is a wildflower that began blooming on our property a couple of years after we moved into our home. It tends to be a short lived flower, so we anxiously await its blossoming and soak up its beauty while we can. Each time I see the Star of Bethlehem flower I can't help but think of the sweet Christmas song by that name. : )

Our crab apple tree was especially beautiful this year! I always love the vibrant pink blossoms.
I was so impressed with the amount of blossoms on the tree this year.

We always eagerly anticipate the arrival of the Baltimore Orioles. Adam made little platforms for grape jelly, the orioles enjoy perching on the platforms while they eat the jelly. It is surprising just how much grape jelly they can eat in a week! If you look closely you will spot a male Baltimore oriole, a female and a very mischievous squirrel. 

We have a family of squirrels in the large old maple tree outside our living room window. We have enjoyed watching their unbelievable antics! They make us laugh so often with how cute and crazy they behave, especially the juvenile squirrels.
Adam took these pictures of the orioles early one morning. They can be fairly difficult to photograph. 

We have also been grateful to once again see the Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Eastern Bluebirds, hummingbirds and so many others! Many times when we visit my mom we are treated with a visit from the Pileated woodpecker, what an amazing creature!

We have planted our vegetable garden and are excited to once again watch the plants grow. Our first harvest this year was asparagus, which was an unexpected blessing. Adam had planted some asparagus roots in the garden last spring. We had read that it could take up to five years before the plants would produce anything edible. However, much to our delight we had enough asparagus to enjoy one evening with our dinner.

Adam started most of our plants from seed this year using heirloom seeds. Last year we had purchased tomato plants from a local greenhouse, at the time we hadn't realized they were heirloom tomatoes. They were the most delicious tomatoes we had ever tasted. The tomato variety was Boxcar Willy, it was the variety's name that caught our attention. Adam was able to save seeds from last years tomatoes and start his own Boxcar Willy tomato plants this year. We are excited to enjoy them once again this year.

Hopefully I will post again soon. It seems like there tends to be more to share during the spring, summer and fall. I hope to share some of my recent sewing projects soon.

Have you planted a garden this year? Are you enjoying any special feathered friends?

"O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches." Psalm 104:24

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Faith's Checkbook

 Over the years one of my favorite daily devotional books has been Faith's Checkbook by Charles Spurgeon. When I was growing up my mom would often read aloud from her own worn copy of Faith's Checkbook to my sisters and I. When I married mom gave me a copy of my own, and it has continued to encourage me with God's promises throughout the years.

Faith's Checkbook is a collection of 366 promises from God's Word, one for each day of the year, including leap years. In each reading Charles Spurgeon will expound upon the promise for that day in a brief devotion. I have been blessed time and again to be reminded of God's precious promises though this devotional. 


Below is the reading for December 28th:

Absolute Assurance 
"He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee"   (Hebrews 13:5).

Several times in the Scriptures the LORD hath said this. He has often repeated it to make our assurance doubly sure. Let us never harbor a doubt about it. In itself the promise is specially emphatic. In the Greek it has five negatives, each one definitely shutting out the possibility of the LORD's ever leaving one of His people so that he can justly feel forsaken of his God. This priceless Scripture does not promise us exemption from trouble, but it does secure us against desertion. We may be called to traverse strange ways, but we shall always have our LORD's company, assistance, and provision. We need not covet money, for we shall always have our God, and God is better than gold; His favor is better than fortune. 


We ought surely to be content with such things as we have, for he who has God has more than all the world besides. What can we have beyond the Infinite? What more can we desire than almighty Goodness. 


Come, my heart; if God says He will never leave thee nor forsake thee, be thou much in prayer for grace that thou mayest never leave thy LORD, nor even for a moment forsake His ways. 


As the new year approaches it is good to remember God's goodness and His promises through His Word. If you are considering a new daily devotional for 2021 I would highly recommend Faith's Checkbook

"As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him."

Psalm 18:30

Monday, December 21, 2020

Christmas Books by Grace Livingston Hill Part 2

Back in 2017 I shared some of my favorite Grace Livingston Hill Christmas stories. Since then I have discovered a few other Christmas books by Mrs. Hill  that I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope you will too!

The Prodigal Girl was quite the story! It follows the Thorton family during a rather tumultuous Christmas season. Mr. Thorton has spent his years climbing the corporate ladder and spending little time with his family. One day, just after reaching his highest professional achievement, he over hears a rather surprising conversation regarding his eldest daughter. He is stunned, and upon further investigation realizes that while he was pursuing his dream career his family had been terribly neglected. Mr. Thorton makes the decision to remove his family from the city and relocate to his childhood home in rural Vermont. 

As can be imagined his worldly wise offspring are less than thrilled with this arrangement. Mr. Thorton meets with a great deal of opposition from his family, especially from his oldest daughter. As the story unfolds we see the Lord's redemptive plan for the Thorton family and it is beautiful! I loved the description of the old homestead in Vermont, and I especially enjoyed reading of the old-fashioned preparations for Christmas. The Prodigal Girl was a book that I found hard to put down and one that I would highly recommend.

Astra is a sweet story. In the first pages a wintry storm, as seen from a train, is described so beautifully I felt as though I were there! I could imagine seeing the little towns covered in snow, Christmas lights gleaming. The main character, Astra, is a lonely young woman. She had lived with her cousins family since the passing of her parents. Her values don't always align with those of her worldly cousin, so when her cousin and family take a trip out of state Astra sees her means of escape. Life on her own is difficult, she isn't sure were to turn when all of the old friends she had counted on are out of town for Christmas. Astra finds a friend and help in a most unexpected way. A beautiful story of Christmas romance unfolds in a wholesome and engaging fashion. Astra is a book I will definitely read again. It was cozy, sweet and pointed to Jesus, which is my favorite kind of Christmas story.

Partners is the story of Dale, a young woman out of a job and alone in an unfriendly city. Trouble seems to meet her at every turn. Utterly despondent and without hope she calls upon God for guidance and help. She is amazed at the answer to her prayer, and the unusual responsibilities that come her way. 

On a stormy evening, a young man that resides at the boarding house where Dale lives discovers a baby left in the vestibule of the boarding house. The poor little baby is covered with snow, blue with cold and terribly sick. Unable to find help in the ladies running the boarding house he seeks help from Dale. From that point forwards they become "partners" in seeking to save the precious little life of the baby he had found. Partners is a lovely story. I was blessed with the story's ultimate theme of God's goodness and guidance in the lives of the characters.

Brentwood: Upon the passing of her adoptive mother, Marjorie discovers a letter describing her history. Much to Marjorie's surprise she discovers that her birth mother is still alive. With Christmas soon approaching Marjorie decides to seek out her birth mother, so she will not have to spend Christmas alone. Marjorie is met with  quite a surprise when she finally finds her mother. Not only does Marjorie have a mother, but she has a father, an identical twin sister and three younger siblings! Her parents are both terribly ill and the entire family is living in poverty. Thankfully, Marjorie's adoptive parents had left her with a small fortune, so when Marjorie discovers the situation her family is in, she is able to help them and bless them with a truly wonderful Christmas! 
Brentwood is a story of family, and how a loving family is of more value than any amount of money. It was fun to read the accounts of Marjorie's generosity, and how she was able to forge a true friendship with her stand-offish twin sister. I truly enjoyed this unique Christmas story.
As you well know Grace Livingston Hill is my favorite author, and I am so happy that she wrote such a wonderful variety of Christmas books! If you would like to read my previous Grace Livingston Hill Christmas book post here is a link


Monday, December 14, 2020

Christmas Cookies

Today I would like to share with you some new cookie recipes my daughter and I have recently enjoyed baking. This year I decided to try some new cookie recipes, as I tend to make the same cookies every Christmas season. All three new recipes were well received and have been added to my cookbook for future reference.

This summer one of our favorite read aloud books was Pippi Longstocking. In the story Pippi is forever baking and eating pepparkakor cookies. Jemimah was shocked by many of Pippi's antics, including when Pippi rolled out her cookie dough on the kitchen floor. After baking a batch of pepparkakor cookies we could easily see why Pippi would bake such large batches of these cookies, they don't last long. Pepparkakor cookies are delicious and have a wonderfully spicy flavor.

Pepparkakor Cookies
  • 1 cup butter, softened 
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (I used all brown, but I think the recipe recommend white)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water 
 Directions: Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Cream butter and sugar in a separate bowl. Add egg, maple syrup, and water to butter and sugar mixture. Beat until fluffy. Gradually add dry ingredients. Mix until well combined. Cover bowl and chill dough for at least an hour to make the dough easier to handle and roll out. Once chilled, roll dough until about 1/8" thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out dough into shapes. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned on the bottom.


Jemimah discovered this recipe in her Club House Jr. Magazine. They were a lot of fun to make and the finished cookies were scrumptious! The design and flavor are perfect for Christmas. I know that from now on candy cane cookies will be part of my Christmas cookie rotation each year.

Candy Cane Cookies
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • red food coloring

Directions: Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, peppermint, vanilla, salt and baking powder. Gradually add flour, mix well. Set aside half of the dough. Add red food coloring to one half of dough. Chill dough for at least one hour, so that dough is easier to work with. Once chilled pinch off a piece of dough, about 2 tablespoons, from each color. Roll each dough into a rope that measure about 5" long. Twist both ropes together and  then curve top to create a cane shaped cookie. Bake in a 375 degree oven 9-12 minutes.


During the Christmas season I often think of my grandma and all of her wonderful baking. Each Christmas she would give our family a shirt box filled with an assortment of homemade cookies. My sisters and I were always excited to see what grandma had baked that year. One of my favorite cookies were grandma's mincemeat cookies. They tasted so old-fashioned and festive. Unfortunately grandma never shared the recipe and after her passing we were unable to find the recipe in her cookbooks. However, awhile back I read a recipe for mincemeat cookies shared by Jennifer that sounded similar. I finally tried baking her recipe and it tasted just like the cookies I remembered grandma baking! They are truly a special treat. I encourage you to visit Jennifer's blog and try baking her recipe for mincemeat cookies.

I hope you will enjoy trying the cookie recipes I shared today. Have you tried any new cookie recipes this season? If yes, do you have a new favorite to recommend?

P.S. A few years back I shared some favorite Christmas cookie recipes. If you are interested in seeing the post here is a link.
"O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens." Psalm 8:1